Hive World Terra

Siege Of Altdorf (II)

Warning: This definition may contain spoilers from any number of Games Workshop novels or source books.

Siege Of Altdorf (II): Altdorf's political and geographical significance has led to it suffering several protracted sieges and assaults. Three hundred and forty-four years after the ravages of Waaagh Gorbad, another, altogether more sinister foe was hammering at the gates of the Imperial City: Vlad von Carstein, first and greatest of the Vampire Counts of Sylvania.

In 2051 the Master of Sylvania finally led his armies to Altdorf, forty years after he initially revealed himself as a vampire at Drakenhof Castle. Beneath the walls of Altdorf, he offered an ultimatum; "Open the gates and serve me whilst living, or fight on and serve me in death." The Empire, fractured into three rival claimants to the throne and, demoralised by Vlad's seeming invincibility during the long years of his campaign, teetered on the brink of destruction. Ludwig, the Altdorf Emperor, was on the verge of accepting von Carstein's terms when the Grand Theogonist Wilhelm III persuaded him otherwise; convincing the Emperor that Sigmar would grant them salvation.

The siege lasted a further three days, which Wilhelm spent in fasting within the Grand Temple of Sigmar. After three nights, he was granted an answer by the god. Wilhelm arranged for Felix Mann, foremost thief and cutpurse in the Empire, to be granted a pardon for his crimes, if he could steal the Carstein Ring from Vlad's hand while the vampire slept. To further ensure the thief's loyalties, Wilhelm laid a powerful geas upon him.

Felix snuck into the undead camp during the day and vanished with the Ring. Neither he nor the Ring were seen again.

Without the Ring, Vlad von Carstein could be slain. Upon waking, he ordered an all-out assault on the beleagured Altdorf, which came close to success. Once more, it fell to the Grand Theogonist to put paid to Vlad's plans. The two clashed in a mighty and closely-matched duel on the battlements for an hour, before Vlad, untiring in his undead state, gained the upper hand. At this point, Wilhelm, sensing the nearing of the end, charged the vampire and seized him in a bear hug, carrying both of them over the crenallations and impaling Vlad and himself on the wooden stakes driven into the based of the wall.

With von Carstein dead, the remaining Vampire Counts retreated. Isabella, Vlad's wife, committed suicide rather than face eternity without him. Wilhelm III was interred within the Temple of Sigmar, and his reliquary remains an object of fervent prayer for those haunted by the Undead.

Although safe from siege, Altdorf had suffered so much that pursuit of the fleeing Sylvanian army was impossible. To further complicate matters, the other two claimants to the Imperial throne made moves against Ludwig, fearing he might be able to use the popularity gained from his victory to cement his claim.

And so, the Vampire Counts of Sylvania slunk back to their castles and lairs, to grow strong again…

Source: Warhammer Armies: Undead, 4th Edition by various

Submitter: Simguinus